Something to Live For (1952): George Stevens’ Alcoholism Drama

George Stevens directed Something to Live For, a drama about an alcoholic actress, starring Joan Fontaine, Ray Milland, and Teresa Wright.

Dwight Taylor’s script was one of Hollywood’s first to focus on the Alcoholics Anonymous program.  Taylor based the character of Jenny on his own mother, noted stage actress Laurette Taylor, whose struggle with alcoholism kept her from acting for years at a time. Tayor was a longtime friend of director-producer George Stevens’ uncle, theatre critic Ashton Stevens.

Something to Live For

Original poster for the French release

Jenny Carey (Fontaine) is a budding actress whose career is threatened by an increasing dependence on alcohol spurred by her self-destructive romance with theatre director Tony Collins.

Reformed drunk Alan Miller (Milland) attempts to help her by introducing her to AA, but his growing interest in her strains his marriage to Edna (Teresa Wright), who suspects his motive for assisting Jenny is more than humanitarian.

It is one of Stevens’ weakest films, positioned between two major Oscar winners, An American Tragedy, which preceded it, and Giant, which followed it.

Joan Fontaine as Jenny Carey
Ray Milland as Alan Miller
Teresa Wright as Edna Miller
Richard Derr as Tony Collins
Douglas Dick as Baker


Produced and directed by George Stevens.

Screenplay by Dwight Taylor

Music by Victor Young

Cinematography: George Barnes

Edited byWilliam Hornbeck
Production company: Paramount Pictures
Release date: March 7, 1952
Running time: 89 minutes